Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Latin Returns To Novus Ordo Mass

(National Catholic Register) - ...St. Thomas More is part of a quiet trend to incorporate traditional Latin Church music, particularly the chants, into the body of the vernacular Novus Ordo Mass. This is not the beginning of a return to the Mass in Latin, several experts said, but a recognition that a part of the Church’s heritage needs to reclaim its position within the liturgy.

The trend is accelerating at the same time as a new English translation of the Roman Missal, expected to reincorporate more traditional language, is in the works, several liturgy experts noted.

“There is a renewed interest in the Latin texts, the Latin chants,” said Patrick Vallez-Kelly, director of the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Office of Worship. “I think some people are going back to the instructions that came out of the Second Vatican Council that have always exhorted us to maintain a basic repertoire of Latin. That has largely been ignored in the American church. There is a generation of music directors and liturgists who are coming back to that — this is something of value.”

Vatican II encouraged the use of Gregorian chant and recommended it to have “pride of place” in the liturgy.

“There may be a natural call that this kind of natural chanting has on the human heart, and that’s why for so many years of being absent from the churches it is now being welcomed by so many,” said Helen Hull Hitchcock, editor of the Adoremus Bulletin. “As St. Augustine said, ‘Singing is praying twice.’”

Pope Benedict XVI’s love of traditional church music is also sparking the movement toward more Latin and Gregorian music, Vallez-Kelly said. The Holy Father wrote extensively on the liturgy as a professor and then as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, particularly in The Spirit of the Liturgy. Now that he is Pope, his thoughts have become more familiar.

“I think in some ways he’s a voice for what other people have been feeling,” Vallez-Kelly said. “There are certain aspects to the liturgical renewal that weren’t done well. There has been a lot of disregard for the norms — and a lot of free experimentation done poorly.”...

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